Kolkata, April 4: Accusing the ruling Trinamool Congress of indulging in electoral malpractices, the CPI-M on Monday refused to call the first phase of the West Bengal assembly polls "entirely fair".
The Trinamool rubbished the charges and claimed the "massive turnout" indicated the party's popularity.
Eighteen constituencies spread across the three Maoist-affected districts of West Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura went to the hustings on the day and registering over 80 percent polling.
"The polls were fairly peaceful but I will not say it was entirely fair. In places like Salboni (West Midnapore), Bankura and Purulia, the Trinamool, even if it failed to resort to malpractices in large way, did manage to try to disrupt the polls by orchestrating attacks, intimidating voters and the like," said Communist Party of India-Marxist MP Mohammad Salim.
"The Trinamool unleashed its goon brigade and used a section of the administration to try and disrupt the polls. In a few places, some of EC's lower level officials worked in the interest of the state administration. However, the EC has tried to initiate immediate steps in case of complaints," he said.
The Marxist leader credited the Election Commission as well as the central security forces for ensure the people could exercise their democratic rights.
"Despite the Trinamool endeavours to disrupt the polls, the first phase has largely displayed the peoples' intent to uproot the Trinamool," added Salim.
Rubbishing the opposition's claims, the Trinamool asserted the large turnout was an indication of the masses' trust in the Mamata Banerjee-led party.
"The massive turnout displays the peoples' faith in the Mamata Banerjee government which has brought a revolution in Jangalmahal through development," said state Panchayat Minister Subrata Mukherjee.
"Those who do not have any connect with the masses can only make such baseless allegations. These are desperate attempts to stay relevant," said Trinamool Lok Sabha member Sudip Bandyopadhyay.